Ministry Tool Box: I Dare You to Live a Balanced Life!


“What I’ve dared I’ve willed; and what I’ve willed, I’ll do!”  –Melville


I don’t know how many “motivational” type devotional books I have read through the years.   Most of them have been pretty good.  Only one stands out! 


I DARE YOU is a small book by William H. Danforth (1960) I received when I graduated from high school.  I was given this book by Rev. Robert E. Meanor, the Assistant pastor of my church in Aurora Colorado[1].  I don’t know when this book was first written.  The copy I was given in 1971 was the 23rd privately printed edition.  I have used his formula for in my life/ministry for over forty years.        


In my TOOL BOX for ministry I place this little book and this simple idea:  I DARE YOU!  I DARE YOU  TO LIVE A BALANCED LIFE!  This little book has challenged me to create a mental picture of a checker (Danforth’s term)—a box with four sides:


Physical=stand tall

Mental=think tall

Social=smile tall

Religious=live tall


Through the years I have tried to use these four pillars (my term) in living my life centered in Jesus Christ.  I have tried to write about these on a regular basis in my personal journal and now my blog.   For example, every Wednesday I address my thoughts on my “Physical self”; Thursdays on my “Mental health”;  Fridays on my “Social life”;  Saturdays on my “Spiritual growth”.   I then try to establish goals that I can carry with me through the week.         


Living a balanced life will mean different things to different people.  For me it has been important to try to be intentional in reflecting and setting goals.  Some of the questions I ask myself:


  1. Physical:  What can I do to be in better shape?  How can I improve my diet in losing weight?  What can I do to promote being/becoming healthier?


  1. Mentally:  What am I reading?  Listening to?   What is stimulating mental health?  What about puzzles and games that help me “exercise” my mind?  I have gone to the web page to help with some neat mental exercises!  I created this BLOG to exercise my mind.  I am also listening to a variety of on-line speakers/preachers to stimulating thinking about who I am in relation to what I believe. 


  1. Socially:  I am ISTJ on the ‘Myers-Briggs’ scale—note I am a strong introvert.  This is unusual for a minister.  It is therefore important for me to work at engaging with others in a variety of contexts.   I need to be intentional in creating social experiences.  I also ask:  Who do I trust who can engage with in-depth conversation?  Personally and professionally?  Who is in my personal network of colleagues and friends?  Now that I am retired, I am trying to re-establish contact with people from my past….some of whom I have not seen for years!


  1. Spiritual:  Some would say as a pastor, I don’t need to devote a lot of time to this area.  What is God calling me to do and be in living my life as a Christian?  Am I living what I preach?  Now that I am retired, what can I do to continue living my life as ‘prophet, priest and king’ (see blog Jan. 16)[2].  Am I living as ‘complete’ Christian every day and with every breath I take?


This text from Galatians comes to mind as I write about the need for balance in my life.  Clearly, all of you who were baptized in Christ’s name have clothed yourselves with Christ.”   Galatians 3: 27


In what ways, each and every day, will I put on Christ physically, mentally, socially and spiritually?


For those who read this blog, join with me in accepting the DARE to lived tall, stand tall, think tall – and perhaps more important than anything else:  SMILE TALL!


[1]  Bob Meanor was the Assistant Pastor who guided me through the decision to contemplate entering ministry.  He still lives in Omaha, Nebraska.   

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Dimensions of Wellness | tomcundiff

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